Books

Neal Gabler has turned his culture critic’s sights on none other than Barbra Streisand for his new book, and he’ll discuss it on July 9 at 6 p.m. to lead off the Amagansett Library’s free summer reading series, Authors After Hours.

The New ­York City Board of Education, in its infinite wisdom circa 1955, divided a long-established school district in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn to create banjo-shaped Wingate High. Had it not, I would have gone to legendary Erasmus Hall and been a classmate of the soon-to-be famous Barbra Streisand. But would I have noticed?
When it came time for Iris Smyles to meet with the publicity people at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to “do the usual thing of getting blurbs,” as she put it, for her book “Dating Tips for the Unemployed,” the ass-kissing and self-promotion could’ve sent her soul fleeing her body like a shirt ripped from a hanger. Instead, pausing in her consumption...

Iris Smyles’s new book is a hybrid work, a mix of autobiographical fiction and humor writing that builds a witty, of-a-certain-moment novel. With an unpredictable blend of the confessional and the satirical, the absurdist and the heartfelt, Ms. Smyles chronicles the ins and outs and overnights of a 21st-century single writer-about-town who dwells...
Montauk. It’s all the rage. But there’s cool Montauk, day-tripping Montauk, partying Montauk, and then there’s a somewhat more authentic Montauk, exemplified by the grizzled veterans of the fish-stinking rocky promontory who’ve put their literary heads together to come up with an anthology celebrating the place.

While it is a truth that anyone who lives to old age will experience inevitable deterioration, the facts of each case go universally unacknowledged. The personal reality of decline is hard to express, takes time away from life itself, and conflicts with the abundance narrative — youth, marriage, sex, and childbirth are more celebrated. Who wants...
Chris Knopf has left the fabulous Hamptons behind for the browner pastures of the Bronx. In “Back Lash,” the seventh installment in what is the original of his several series of crime novels, the geographically pretentious reference has even been excised from the cover, the billing simply reading “A Sam Acquillo Mystery.”
Is history soft, malleable, open to interpretation? Or is it stiffly a matter of facts, immutable, regardless of the “perspective” (that overused word, at once inclusive and diminishing) of the beholder?

By Bruce Buschel